Recent decisions and actions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency dominated Monday’s city council meeting.
City Manager Huey P. Long reported to the council that FEMA had given the city a $500,000 reimbursement for cost incurred after the 2007 ice storm. Additionally, the federal agency has given the city $90,000 earmarked for the municipal swimming pool.
In other FEMA news, Long indicated that demolition of 33 flood-damaged structures will begin soon.
The city has received assurances that FEMA funding will be provided to cover the cost of razing the structures, city officials confirmed.
Sixteen additional structures are eyed for demolition but FEMA denied funding assistance, based on the structural integrity of the properties.
Long said the city is appealing the denials due to the health and safety hazard posed by mold and asbestos present in the structures.
Long also announced a public hearing to be held at the Civic Center on Monday, Feb. 9 to discuss the city’s street improvement plan.
The improvement plan, per the recommendation of a citizens advisory committee, could be supported by a proposed sales tax of up to 1 percent.
In a related note, Long reported that stimulus money marked for Indian Tribes may benefit the City of Miami.
Long said that talks are ongoing with tribal leaders who have jurisdiction within the boundaries of the City of Miami.
Tribal leaders have expressed an interest in using the federal money, tagged for infrastructure improvements, on city streets that fall within their tribal territories.
In other matters, by a 4 to 1 vote the council passed an ordinance to split the current office of chief financial officer and city clerk into two separate offices, with the city manager responsible for the hiring of a new CFO.
Councilman John Dalgarn cast the only opposing vote.
The council voted unanimously to approve a $180,000 loan for the Development Authority to construct two affordable, single-family homes in the Key West Subdivision.
The council approved the purchase of bulk oil, hydraulic fluid, and anti-freeze from a Wallis Lubricants out of Joplin, Mo.
Mayor Brent Brassfield cast a tie-breaking vote in support of staff’s recommendation to award the bid to the Missouri vendor over a Miami-based vendor.
Wallis Lubricants was the lowest bidder.
Brassfield took an opportunity in his remarks to praise the city utility workers for their work in Siloam Springs during that city’s recent winter storm.
The mayor also reported on members of the Miami Fire Department who recently attended an asbestos school to receive inspection certification. The volume of inspectors may help expedite the process of having flood-damaged homes demolished.
In other business the council:
• Voted unanimously to approve a bid for swimming pool chemicals for the Parks Department.
• Voted unanimously to approve a bid of $58,234.93 from Miami True Value for pole barn materials for the Parks Department with the funds coming from the flood account.
• Voted unanimously to approve the location of a “Gateway City” arch to be located on the 200 block of North Main Street.
• Voted unanimously to pass an ordinance providing retirement benefits for the office of City Clerk and CFO.